Mumbaiites will soon have luxury cars such as Toyota Corolla, Honda City, Tata Manza and Toyota Innova as taxis for commuting in the city.
The state transport department has given its nod for inclusion of these car models in the city’s taxi fleet after transport minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil held a meeting with transport officers and representatives of the car manufacturers.
The transport department would decide on a tentative date for introducing these taxis on road once they get opinions from their own department, RTOs and automobile manufacturers, who have been asked to suggest newer models to replace the Premier Padmini taxis.
“We are meeting the automobile manufacturers and asking them to enhance the speed of delivering newer 1,000 cc-plus models as taxis. We are also looking at adding bigger cars like Innova in the taxi fleet,” said Vikhe-Patil. The manufacturers would also be asked to provide soft loans to taxi drivers with lower interest rates for purchasing the new models.
According to transport department officials, the demand for including sedans also came from taxi operators, who want to serve premium segment customers. However, the tariff for these sedan taxis is yet to be decided.
Also, in the long run, the transport department is planning to do away with its policy to scrap vehicles older than 25 years. “The policy of scrapping all taxis older than 25 years would be changed as the taxi union has promised to replace all vehicles within three years,” added Vikhe-Patil.
Meanwhile, the transport department would soon call for re-tendering of the special scheme of selling 4,000 permits to fleet cab owners. Only a fortnight back, the department received an unenthusiastic response from bidders, with only one of the 20 bidders, who initially showed interest, submitting the tender.
The department is also keen on bringing in newer permits for black and yellow taxis in the future, in case the transformation of taxis with newer models is a success.